Daequan Wimberly, of Miami, had suffered from body deformities and kidney failure at 18 months old, when he was taken in as “medical foster child” by Bishop Jerry Lee Wimberly of Ambassadors of Christ church, the Miami Herald reported.
After he was officially adopted, Daequan became a shining presence at the church up until his death Tuesday, Gladys Brown, a family friend and church member, told the paper.
“He was happy. He could have been an usher anywhere,” Brown said. “He wouldn’t stop until he shook everyone’s hand.”
As a toddler, Daequan persevered through rickets and underwent dialysis three times a week. But his health took a turn for the worse after he came down with a fever two weeks ago.
He was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital where he was diagnosed with COVID-19 on June 19 and ultimately passed away from pneumonia 11 days later, according to the Herald.
Daquean was the third Florida minor to die due to an infection after two 17-year-olds had passed away from COVID-19, the Herald reported.
Florida is among many states across the country experiencing a huge spike in coronavirus cases after moving to reopen their economies. The state has suffered massive daily increases throughout June, with more than 169,100 confirmed cases and more than 3,600 deaths.
Pastor Wimberly, 74, didn’t know where Daequan contracted the virus. The boy rode a bus to a school for special-needs students and regularly took trips to Jackson Memorial Hospital for treatments before catching the bug.
Despite his condition, Daequan was always brimming with charisma and quickly became beloved by churchgoers, according to Wimberly.
The pastor tragically couldn’t comfort Daequan in his final moments. Wimberly has also contracted the coronavirus and remains hospitalized, though he is expected to be released this week.
“We taught him to be a good person,” Wimberly said. “The Lord blessed him. He turned out to be a very loving person.”